Further to Friday's report in The Age, Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart has released the following statement to the media, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne website.
I was deeply saddened today to read reports in the media of the suicides of at least 40 people linked to sexual abuse and I extend my heart-felt sympathy to the relatives of those who have died.
It appears that a confidential police report has been given to the media. I think that Victoria Police should give the report to the Coroner. There needs to be a proper investigation of any suicides.
I want to respond to comments in the media today about the Church’s relationship with Victoria Police. I believe that we have a good working relationship with Victoria Police. In establishing the Melbourne Response in 1996, we had extensive discussions with the police which continue at a senior level.
Most recently, there was a meeting with Graham Ashton in September last year. After that meeting, Mr Ashton wrote acknowledging that the reporting and recording of any crime committed by a member of my staff is a matter for us to manage in accordance with the law and natural justice.
He went on to say that his expectation is that those matters are reported to police at the first available opportunity. He said he fully supported the Archdiocese’s ongoing relationship with the Sexual Crimes Squad.
I want to make it clear that I emphatically agree that the investigation of crimes is a matter for the police.
FULL STORY Archbishop says suicide report should be given to the Coroner (CAM)